On 23 February 2021 the Foundation and the Uppsala University Department of Peace and Conflict Research (DPCR) held the first in a series of seminars for alumni of the International Training Programme (ITP), on the theme ‘Realising Inclusivity: Strengthening Collaboration and Partnership’.
The seminar series provides a space for interactive exchange between members of the ITP Alumni Network and aims to promote dialogue for sustainable peace and development.
Over 50 alumni from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region attended the inaugural online seminar.
Participants reflected on how inclusivity can be advanced at the country level by strengthening collaboration and partnerships between the United Nations, regional organisations, other multilateral actors and civil society organisations (CSOs).
The seminar built on the Foundation’s work on inclusion, and particularly its most recent report, Realising Inclusivity: The role of the United Nations in promoting inclusion at the country level.
The report explores the how the UN operationalises and engages with four international frameworks to advance inclusivity at the country level: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Agenda; the Women, Peace and Security Agenda; and the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda.
It examines how the UN supports the implementation of these four frameworks at the country level, with a particular focus on four country contexts: Colombia, the Gambia, Jordan and Sri Lanka.
As explained in the report, each framework emphasises the importance of actions and measures to advance inclusivity. The strengthening of partnerships and collaboration between the UN and other actors, including regional and sub-regional organisations and CSOs, is essential to these efforts, and formed a central point of discussion in the seminar.
Perspectives on strengthening collaboration and partnership
A number of key reflections emerged from the two-hour discussion.
First, participants highlighted the need to decode the language of international frameworks and contextualise inclusivity at the country level.
Second, the UN should further support CSOs working on inclusivity at the country level. CSOs often have better access to and engagement with local communities. For example, the International Contact Group on Liberia plays an essential role in promoting peace through political dialogue.
Third, women and youth groups and organisations needed to be involved in advancing peace efforts—not only in the implementation processes but in decision-making processes that contribute to policymaking.
Fourth, hierarchical relationships and power dynamics between the UN and civil society create barriers which sometimes make it difficult for CSOs to be heard. UN bodies need to develop their own policies and strategies to strengthen participation and support civil society actors.
Fifth, given that data management between UN bodies, national statistical authorities and CSOs is not coherent, the UN should consider a unified methodology for measuring and collecting data on inclusivity targets.
Overall, the seminar produced a number of rich reflections and perspectives on how the UN, regional organisations and civil society can strengthen their work and continue to advance inclusivity through collective peacebuilding efforts.
About the seminar series
Seminars are offered to members of the network who have participated in ITP courses including the Advanced International Programme on Conflict Resolution; the Top-Level Seminar on Peace and Security; Peace and Security in Africa; and the International Training on Dialogue and Mediation (ITDM) programme.
Established in 2017, the ITDM programme is a collaboration between the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the DPCR.
Read more about the ITP Alumni Network.